John S. Justeson , Peter Mathews
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This paper surveys the origin and development of the representational conventions of Mesoamerica writing systems. Writing probably grew out of the iconography of ceremonial cults, with which it shares many representational conventions; this iconography was used throughout Mesoamerica. Writing per se seems to have taken shape during or just before the period in which state-level political organization was emerging, in at least two separate regional traditions. Many of the representational features of these scripts are understandable in terms of the structures of the languages they represented and the patterns of development often resemble those of Old World systems. Other features are understandable in terms of the close relations that Mesoamerican writing maintained with iconography.